The Newington town council is considering acquiring land on Cedar Mountain to preserve the town’s iconic natural landmark.
In 2014, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recommended that the state transfer some land to the town for preservation.
In the three years since that recommendation, there has been little movement on the matter; but at a September town council meeting, town officials unanimously decided to try and move the acquisition forward.
Councilwoman Gail Budjreko brought the issue forward at the meeting and said that acquiring the and would help ensure the town can preserve the area’s natural character.
“In 2008 and 2009 development on Cedar Mountain actually became a possibility and thank goodness a grass-roots movement emerged to save Cedar Mountain,” Budjreko said. “In the 2020 plan of conservation and development there were goals put in there to preserve and protect Cedar Mountain, especially the western ridge line.”
With that in mind, Budjreko encouraged her fellow council members to sign a letter to send to state legislators asking for assistance.
“DEEP concluded there was really significant environmental resources on that property and advised the Office of Policy Management to preserve the property,” she said. “DEEP made the recommendation to OPM that the land be transferred to a town or an environmental group.”
The transfer of the property to Newington would come at no cost to the town.
Budjreko said she and the town planner had been in touch with the state as recently as March and that plans to transfer the property are still on the table.
Budjreko said she drafted a letter encouraging the state to expedite the process.
“There are a lot of sign offs and discussion still to be had, but I feel this is a priority," she said.
Councilors were receptive to the idea and unanimously voted in early September to sign a letter urging the town’s state legislators to push the transfer through.
“I think this is a great idea,” Councilman Tim Manke said. “It’s an important thing and we’ve worked hard getting it this far.”
Councilwoman Carol Anest said it’s been many years of discussion on Cedar Mountain and there was no time like the present to push the issue forward.
“It’s time to take a stand,” she said.